Two MUW alumni groups say they'll merge

By The Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Rival alumni groups have agreed to set aside their differences of the past four years and work together to support Mississippi University for Women.

The Mississippi University for Women Alumni Association and Mississippi’s First Alumnae Association said during homecoming activities this weekend that they had voted to merge.

The Commercial Dispatch reports that after Saturday’s announcement on the Columbus campus, alumni cheered and hugged before linking arms and singing an old school song, “Hail to Thee.”

“This is the happiest day of my life. We’ve waited a long time for this,” said Lillian Wade of Columbus, president of the Mississippi’s First Alumnae Association.

The alumni groups splintered in 2007, when Claudia Limbert was president of the university.

Limbert accused MUW Alumnae Association workers of trying to get her fired and hindering fundraising, and she cut the group’s ties with the university. Limbert created the MUW Alumni Association as a new, official organization.

The Alumnae Association sued, claiming Limbert overstepped her bounds as president and didn’t have the authority to kick it off campus. Lowndes County Chancery Judge Dorothy Colom sided with the ousted alumnae group and ordered Limbert to allow it back on campus. But the Mississippi Supreme Court eventually sided with Limbert. She retired last year.

Allegra Brigham, the interim MUW president, said the merger of the two alumni groups is in the university’s best interest.

“While there were many issues that served to divide us before, everyone worked very hard to find common ground and forge a path to the future,” Brigham, who’s a graduate of MUW, said in a news release. “Working together, we can help the university reach new heights, which is something we all want.”